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Linux in a Nutshell, 6th Edition by Robert Love, Stephen Figgins, Ellen Siever, Arnold Robbins

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Modes

One of the features that makes Emacs popular is its editing modes. The modes set up an environment designed for the type of editing you are doing, with features such as having appropriate key bindings available and automatically indenting according to standard conventions for that type of document. There are two types of modes: major and minor. The major modes include modes for various programming languages such as C or Perl, for text processing (e.g., XML, or even straight text), and many more. One particularly useful major mode is Dired (Directory Editor), which has commands that let you manage directories. Minor modes set or unset features that are independent of the major mode, such as auto-fill (which controls word wrapping), insert versus overwrite, and auto-save. For a full discussion of modes, see Learning GNU Emacs (O’Reilly) or the Emacs Info documentation system (C-h i).

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